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How to set up patient self-scheduling for your practice?

Mia Jensen | August 17, 2023 | 15 min read
How to Set Up Patient Self-Scheduling? | DemandHub

You’re constantly juggling patient care, administrative tasks, and constantly trying to find ways to make your practice more efficient. What if you could address one of your patients’ biggest pain points while streamlining your practice?

According to the 2022 Software Advice Patient Experience Survey, 31% of patients said making an appointment was the biggest hassle regarding their last doctor’s visit. That means about one in three patients might see scheduling as a roadblock to visiting your practice. So, what’s the solution?

Patient self-scheduling.

A recent study revealed that 80% of patients are likelier to choose a physician who offers online scheduling.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into how this innovative approach improves patient satisfaction and benefits your healthcare practice in many ways. With patient self-scheduling, say goodbye to phone tag and welcome to a more efficient, patient-centered practice.

But first thing first. What exactly is patient self-scheduling, and why is it so important?

Table of Contents

What is patient self-scheduling?

Patient self-scheduling is a modern approach in the healthcare industry that allows patients to take control of their medical appointments. This process enables patients to schedule appointments themselves without going through a receptionist or nurse.

With patient self-scheduling, patients can book their appointments at any time, day or night, without needing a phone call or in-person visit. This approach can be done through various methods, including online and mobile scheduling tools, automated phone systems, and patient portals.

Let’s discuss each of the methods in more detail:

4 methods of patient self-scheduling healthcare providers can use

1. Online scheduling tools

These allow patients to schedule appointments via your website, which can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere. It is a great option for patients who prefer to handle things online and don’t want to spend time on the phone.

Online scheduling tools

2. Mobile scheduling apps

These apps allow patients to schedule appointments from their phones, which can be especially convenient for busy patients who are always on the go. Many apps also offer features like appointment reminders and the ability to reschedule or cancel appointments.

Mobile scheduling apps

3. Automated phone systems

These systems enable patients to schedule appointments via phone without speaking with a receptionist. This can be a good option for patients who prefer to handle things over the phone but don’t want to wait on hold or deal with scheduling during business hours.

4. Integrated scheduling systems

These combine elements of online, mobile, and phone scheduling into a cohesive system. This can be a great option for large health systems or for practices that want to offer multiple scheduling options to their patients and streamline the scheduling process. A great example of an integrated and comprehensive patient scheduling software platform is DemandHub.

Integrated scheduling systems

When choosing a self-scheduling tool, consider your practice’s needs, your patient’s preferences, and the level of support and training that will be required. Choosing a user-friendly and easy-to-navigate tool. Educate patients and train your staff on how to use it.

Why do you need to offer self-scheduling to your patients?

A study by Accenture found that 64% of patients expect to book appointments digitally in the future, indicating a growing preference for self-scheduling. So why not give it a try?

Offering self-scheduling to your patients is important for the health systems for several reasons:

Patient convenience

Convenience is one of the major benefits of patient self-scheduling. Patients can easily schedule appointments based on their availability, reducing the likelihood of missed appointments and the need for rescheduling.

Additionally, this approach can help reduce wait times for patients, as they can quickly book appointments that fit their schedules.

Streamlined appointment booking process

Another advantage of patient self-scheduling is that it can help healthcare organizations and providers streamline their appointment booking process. By reducing the workload on receptionists and nurses, healthcare providers can redirect their focus to other critical tasks, such as patient care and administrative duties.

Boost patient engagement and reduce patient no-shows

With self-scheduling, patients can effortlessly book new appointments, tweak, or even cancel the existing ones. This feature saves patients from the dreaded phone tag and cuts down on calls flooding your practice.

And here’s the cherry on top: automated appointment reminders swoop in to save your practice precious time while keeping those pesky no-shows at bay.

Provide real-time availability and reduce wait times

Self-scheduling platforms display available appointment slots in real-time, allowing patients to choose the best time. This helps distribute appointments evenly throughout the day and prevents overbooking.

Moreover, online self-scheduling allows patients to book appointments quickly without waiting on hold or playing phone tag with the practice staff. This can lead to earlier appointments, cutting down on wait times.

Patient self-scheduling is a game-changer in the healthcare industry, benefiting patients and healthcare providers. It improves patient satisfaction, reduces wait times, and streamlines the appointment booking process, ultimately leading to better healthcare and patient outcomes everywhere.

How patient self-scheduling helps your staff?

Did you know that 88% of providers claim their EHR has stepped up patient care? As the healthcare landscape keeps evolving, practices always look for ways to increase efficiency and keep their patients happy. Recent years have seen a rise in patient self-scheduling tools.

A study discovered that self-scheduling led to many confirmed appointments, reducing staff scheduler time. Moreover, 29.5% of self-scheduling happened outside the typical staff scheduler hours. That’s the importance of round-the-clock convenience.

This shows how patient self-scheduling is a win-win for patients and medical practices staff. By allowing patients to book, tweak, or even cancel appointments beyond the usual business hours, self-scheduling ensures your practice makes the most of its appointment slots, paving the way for smarter time management and resource allocation.

How to set up patient self-scheduling for your practice?

Offering an online patient self-scheduling portal for your practice involves a few key steps:

1. Choose the right platform

Research and select a self-scheduling software solution that meets your practice’s needs. Look for a user-friendly, secure platform compatible with your existing EHR and practice management system.

Adopt self-scheduling as a key component of a comprehensive patient engagement platform. Imagine a highly efficient, digital practice where patients can:

  • effortlessly self-schedule,
  • receive automatic text reminders for exams or preventive care,
  • confirm appointments with ease,
  • complete forms and paperwork on their mobile devices.
  • pay contactless via SMS
  • leave reviews with just a click

It might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but digital practice is already here, providing healthcare practices with unparalleled efficiency and a truly engaged patient population.

DemandHub is a complete 360-degree patient engagement solution! With self-scheduling and many other features, it streamlines your practice like never before. It offers many digital patient engagement tools to grow your practice.

Enjoy automatic text message reminders, web chats, Facebook, and SMS messaging – all managed from a user-friendly unified inbox. Effortlessly request reviews and enable contactless payments for a seamless experience. DemandHub truly has it all – don’t wait; explore DemandHub now!

2. Integrate with existing systems

Ensure the self-scheduling software you choose integrates seamlessly with your current EHR and practice management system. It allows for real-time data exchange and reduces the risk of data discrepancies.

3. Train your staff

Educate your team on using the self-scheduling portal and provide them with the necessary training materials. Ensure they understand the system’s benefits and can assist patients with any questions or concerns.

4. Promote the self-scheduling to patients

Your patients will love the convenience of scheduling appointments without making calls, but they need to know it’s an option! Simply hosting self-scheduling on your website or portal isn’t enough, as they may not visit these places frequently.

Here’s how you can spread the word about self-scheduling and encourage adoption:

  • Share the news on your social media platforms
  • Create a prominent announcement on your website
  • Write an engaging blog post about it
  • Train your staff to discuss self-scheduling with patients during visits
  • Display eye-catching signs in your office and waiting areas
  • Send SMS messages to inform patients about self-scheduling, along with a link to access the service.

5. Streamline appointment scheduling with custom time slots and types

Optimized patient scheduling involves the average appointment length and allowing a buffer of 5-10 minutes on either side if a session runs longer than expected. Also, keep in mind the specific treatment the patient may need.

By defining a certain number of appointment types and durations, you can make it easy for patients to book their preferred time while ensuring that the time slots match their treatment requirements.

Accurately defining your appointment types is the key to maintaining an organized schedule and simplifying the patient booking process.

Avoid broad categories, as they can make it challenging to set appointment lengths and monitor patient flow. On the other hand, having too many appointment types can be confusing for patients and difficult for you to manage.

6. Monitor and optimize

Regularly review the performance of your self-scheduling portal by tracking metrics like appointment bookings, cancellations, and patient feedback. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and make any necessary adjustments to enhance the user experience and overall efficiency.

7. Provide support to patients

Offer assistance to patients who have difficulty using the patient portal or encounter issues with the patient database. Ensure your staff can answer questions and promptly address concerns, demonstrating your commitment to patient satisfaction.

By implementing these steps, you can successfully offer an online patient self-scheduling portal for your practice, improving efficiency, improving patient satisfaction, and overall patient experience.

Set yourself up for success with DemandHub Patient self-scheduling software

Get the benefits of patient self-scheduling by implementing DemandHub at your healthcare practice. Self-scheduling offers convenience. It enhances patient satisfaction and streamlines practice management, ultimately improving efficiency and resource allocation.

With DemandHub, you can empower your patients to schedule appointments based on availability, reducing no-shows and last-minute cancellations that result in revenue leaks.

Let your patients book visits directly from your website. Keep your calendars full and focus on providing quality care. This is your chance to transform your practice with a patient-centric approach.

Are you ready to transform your practice with DemandHub? Schedule a demo today and explore how DemandHub can enhance your patient scheduling experience and improve your practice’s efficiency!

Frequently asked questions

What is patient scheduling?

Patient scheduling is the process of managing appointments between patients and healthcare providers. It involves setting, tracking, and organizing patient visits to ensure timely and efficient healthcare delivery.

What is a self-determined patient schedule?

A self-determined patient schedule is when patients have the ability to book, reschedule, or cancel their own appointments, often through an online system or patient portal.

What is remote patient monitoring?

Remote patient monitoring is a method of managing acute or chronic conditions via patient engagement tools. Patients can use these tools in their homes, at work, in transit, or even on vacation.

Some of the most popular remote patient monitoring devices include: Glucose meters for diabetes management, Heart rate monitors to manage cardiovascular conditions, Blood pressure monitors for hypertension management, and Wearable fitness trackers to monitor physical activity and sleep patterns, etc.

What are the 4 key measures of patient engagement?

The four key measures of patient engagement are:

  1. Patient Activation: The patient’s knowledge, skills, and confidence in managing their health.
  2. Health Information Seeking: The patient’s efforts to obtain and understand health information.
  3. Patient-Provider Communication: The quality of interaction between the patient and healthcare provider.
  4. Use of Health Services: The patient’s use of preventative and follow-up healthcare services.

What are the patient engagement strategies?

Patient engagement strategies focus on engaging patients through education about their health, fostering open communication with healthcare providers, and leveraging technology like patient portals and mobile apps for easier access to care. Personalizing care plans and involving patients in decision-making can enhance their treatment commitment.

How do you create patient engagement?

Creating patient engagement involves educating patients about their health, facilitating open communication, using technology for easier healthcare access, personalizing care plans, involving patients in decision-making, and valuing their feedback.

What are the five key steps to schedule a patient’s appointment?

The five key steps to schedule a patient’s appointment are:

  1. Verify the patient’s personal information.
  2. Determine the reason for the visit.
  3. Choose a suitable date and time.
  4. Confirm the appointment with the healthcare provider.
  5. Notify the patient about the appointment details.

What are digital patient engagement tools?

Digital patient engagement tools facilitate interaction between healthcare providers and patients, improve patient involvement in their own care, and enhance overall patient satisfaction. Some of these tools include a patient portal, telemedicine platforms, online patient appointments, virtual visits, mobile health apps, automated appointment reminders, or personal health records (PHRs).

How do you make a patient schedule?

To make a patient schedule, you first need to collect the patient’s personal information and understand their medical history and the reason for their visit. Then, find a suitable date and time and confirm the appointment with the healthcare provider. Finally, inform the patient about the appointment details.

What is a simplified patient schedule?

A simplified patient schedule is a streamlined and efficient scheduling system that makes it easy for patients to book, reschedule, or cancel appointments. This could involve the use of online scheduling tools, allowing patients to see available slots and choose a time that suits them. The goal is to improve patient experience, reduce no-shows, and optimize the healthcare provider’s time.

What is an electronic health records (EHR) system?

An Electronic Health Records (EHR) system is a digital version of a patient’s medical history, maintained by the healthcare provider over time. It includes key administrative and clinical data relevant to that individual’s care, such as demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data, and radiology reports. EHR systems are designed to streamline and enhance the efficiency of healthcare delivery by improving access to patient data and facilitating the coordination of care.

What are examples of patient engagement?

Examples of patient engagement include:

  • Patient Portals: Patients use secure online portals to access their health records, book appointments, and communicate with healthcare providers.
  • Health Apps: Patients use mobile health apps to track their health metrics, manage medications, and access health information.
  • Telemedicine: Patients participate in virtual consultations with healthcare providers.
  • Shared Decision-Making: Patients actively make decisions about their treatment plans.
  • Health Education: Patients attend workshops and webinars or read educational materials to learn more about their health conditions.
  • Feedback Surveys: Patients provide feedback on their healthcare experiences, which can be used to improve services.
  • Support Groups: Patients participate in support groups to share experiences and coping strategies.
  • Health and Wellness Programs: Patients participate in programs that promote healthier lifestyles, such as exercise classes or nutrition counseling.
  • Social Media Engagement: Patients follow and interact with their healthcare providers on social media platforms, where they can receive health tips and updates and participate in community discussions.
  • Personal Health Records (PHRs): Patients use digital tools to collect, track, and share their own health information, fostering active involvement in their health management. These examples highlight how patients can be actively involved in their healthcare, contributing to better health outcomes and improved patient satisfaction.

What are the reasons you may encounter resistance to patient self-scheduling?

Resistance to patient self-scheduling may arise due to concerns about technology use, fear of losing control over the scheduling process, worry about overbooking or double-booking, and apprehension about patients scheduling inappropriate appointment types or durations.

What are patient portals?

Patient portals are secure online websites that provide patients with 24-hour access to their personal health information. They allow patients to view their medical and electronic health records, book appointments, request prescription refills, communicate with their healthcare providers, view lab results, and sometimes even pay medical bills. These portals are designed to enhance patient engagement, improve communication, and make healthcare more accessible and convenient.

What is the job description of a patient scheduler?

A patient scheduler manages patient appointments in a healthcare setting. Their responsibilities include scheduling and confirming appointments, managing healthcare providers’ calendars, communicating with patients, and maintaining accurate patient records. They also provide customer service, address patient inquiries, and make physician practices adhere to healthcare regulations. Additionally, they may perform administrative tasks such as answering phone calls and assisting with billing.

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